Choosing the Right Paintball Caliber for You

Cost, Pain, and the Type of Paintball You Want to Play Will Help You Decide

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Are you buying a new paintball gun and wondering which caliber is right for you? There is a significant difference between the standard .68 caliber and the smaller .50 caliber paintballs. Which you choose is going to depend on the type of paintball games you want to play.

Your Paintball Caliber Options

Paintballs come in a variety of sizes, though .68 caliber is the most common and is considered the standard size of paintballs. The 'caliber' of a paintball refers to its diameter. For instance, a .68 caliber paintball is .68 inches in diameter.

Over the years, paintballs also came in other, specialized calibers including .40, .43, .50, and .62. Of these four, .50 caliber paint remains a popular option for low-impact games. Some people continue to use .43 caliber.

The size of paintballs you use is going to depend on your paintball gun (also called a marker).

  • If you have not purchased a paintball gun yet, buy a gun that best suits your needs (more on this below).
  • If you already own a paintball gun, you need to use the caliber for that gun.
  • Conversion kits are available that will modify almost any paintball gun from .68 caliber to .50 caliber and vice versa.

Why Choose .68 Caliber Paintballs?

An industry standard, .68 caliber remains the most popular paintball size and it is preferred by serious players. These are versatile enough for various types of games and styles of fields and have a great velocity and 'splat' when it hits other players.

On the downside, .68 caliber paintballs are heavier, as are the guns made for them. Because they are larger, you will not be able to get as many rounds into the hopper as the smaller paintballs, but overall, experienced players do not find this an issue.

Of course, a larger ball will hurt more when it hits you. If you're new to the sport, this may bother you but it really is part of the fun. Besides, it doesn't hurt that bad.

If your goal is to play with the 'big boys' of paintball, go with the .68 caliber.

Why Choose .50 Caliber Paintballs?

The .50 caliber paintball markers have become a popular option for a variety of paintball players. Often called low-impact paintball, it is perfect for beginners, indoor fields, and casual field play by kids.

It is also popular in fields that market to corporate and other adult outings or anyone who wants the fun of paintball without the pain. Some experienced players also enjoy the smaller size for particular games.

A .50 caliber paintball is 1/2 inch in diameter. These will hurt less when they hit you but you also don't get the same distance or velocity out of them as you would with a .68 caliber. At times, the .50 caliber paintballs will not break on impact.

The smaller size does allow you to get more paint in the hopper and this means that you have to reload less often. Many players find this beneficial for scenario games as well as woodsball. For woodsball, the .50 caliber will also let you shoot through thick brush, a common challenge for the larger paintballs.

Cost is another advantage to .50 caliber. The guns and paint tend to cost less and from a value-only standpoint, the higher volume and more shots make this the most cost-effective paintball option. You will also find that a .50 caliber marker requires less air to shoot no matter if you're using CO2 or compressed air.